The Department of Education has issued a warning notice to AKS Lytham following the school failing to make suitable checks on the staff working there. The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) found that some of the standards of suitability of those with contact with pupils at the school were not met – thus raising deep safeguarding concerns. This has in turn triggered the DfE publishing the warning notice.
Independent schools are inspected by The Independent Schools Inspectorate. Schools in the state sector are inspected by OFSTED. If OFSTED find schools with safeguarding concerns then that school receives an inadequate judgement. This was the case in recently much publicised Reading primary school report.
The AKS Inspectors said that ‘The school does not meet all of the required standards in the schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014, and relevant requirements of the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, and associated requirements, and should take immediate action to remedy deficiencies as detailed below.’
Ensuring that their pupils and colleagues are safeguarded and their well-being is certified by a series of checks is a legal requirement for schools and educational settings. The leadership of the school has accountability for this aspect of management. However, at AKS the Inspectors found that: ‘The standards relating to safeguarding and the suitability of staff have not been fully implemented. Leadership and management have not actively promoted the well-being of the pupils because they have not been thorough in ensuring that all appropriate recruitment checks are completed before staff commence employment at the school.’
Among the failings, AKS Lytham was found not to have:
- ensured that suitable references are received for all staff before the commencement of employment, and to provide assurance they are suitable to undertake their role
- made appropriate checks on supply staff.
In addition, AKS Lytham was found to be at fault by the Inspectors for not obtaining a criminal record certificate from an employment business before an agency worker began work, for not making it clear such a certificate was needed, and for not recording the date on which a certificate was seen.
The Department of Education has issued a warning notice requiring AKS Lytham to provide an action plan detailing the steps the school will take to meet the required standards.
The relevant details from the report are shown below.